With the third AFLW season around the corner, it’s time to look at the new players each club has added for 2019.
The additions of North Melbourne and Geelong in particular have shaken up many of the playing lists and forced the foundation teams to draft with the aim of filling holes left by players who’ve joined the Roos and Cats.
Here’s the one player added by each of the 10 clubs who could have the biggest impact in 2019.
Adelaide: Renee Forth
After originally being signed as a marquee by GWS, Forth tore her ACL and missed the entire inaugural season.
We didn’t see the best of her last year either for the Giants and now with a fresh start at the Crows, Forth will hopefully burst back onto the scene.
Rated as one of the best midfielders in the country pre-AFLW, Forth adds much-needed depth to Adelaide’s on-ball ranks and may allow Erin Phillips to spend more time up forward.
Brisbane: McKenzie Dowrick
Dowrick starred in Western Australia’s Under 18 Championship game and the 18-year-old nominating Queensland for the draft was a blessing for the Lions.
The 18-year-old left footer uses the ball really well and has a strong pair of hands. Despite spending a lot of time down back in the past, expect Brisbane to deploy her across half forward in a Jack Gunston style role.
Given how strong this Lions team has been defensively in the first two seasons, another quality goal kicking option could be what elevates them from perennial Grand Finalist to premier.
Carlton: Madison Prespakis
Carlton coach Daniel Harford is confident his club picked up the best 18-year-old in the country in Prespakis.
The tough midfielder nominated Vic Metro in the draft, meaning Carlton had first dibs at her with pick three (given Geelong had selections one and two) and the TAC Cup best-and-fairest winner will add much needed class to Carlton’s midfield.
The Blues were constantly dominated through the middle last season and need both star power and depth through the area. Prespakis is expected to add both immediately.
Collingwood: Katie Lynch
After losing Jasmine Garner, Christina Bernardi, Jessica Duffin, Emma King and Moana Hope – coupled with Chloe Molloy’s injury – Collingwood has a serious need for players who can take marks and kick goals.
Obviously, some of the above players were used outside the forward half, but all could fill that role if required given their skills.
Lynch, mostly known as a big bodied, tall midfielder, can push forward and play that key position role if needed.
The Pies took her with pick 11 in the draft and her strength above her head and great goal sense make Lynch a great option inside 50 for Collingwood.
Fremantle: Kiara Bowers
Okay, Bowers has been on Fremantle’s list since the inaugural season, but she is yet to play a game.
The marquee midfielder has ruptured her ACL on three occasions, but should finally be fit and ready at some stage of the 2019 season.
Like Forth, Bowers was ranked as one of the top handful of players in the country pre-AFLW, but is yet to have a chance to showcase her talents.
Bowers is a five-time WAWFL best and fairest winner and adding her to a midfield of Kara Donnellan and Dana Hooker immediately boosts their chances in Conference B.
Geelong: Nina Morrison
Geelong (obviously) added quite a few players given they built a list from scratch, but number one draft pick Nina Morrison would be causing the most excitement.
Morrison was the joint winner of the TAC Cup best-and-fairest with Prespakis, the Vic Country MVP and is also an elite long-distance runner.
She will provide electric outside run for the Cats, but also has the ability to lay tackles and win clearances on the inside.
Geelong will likely make her the focal point of their midfield from day one.
GWS: Christina Bernardi
Bernardi had a very strong 2018 for Collingwood, playing as a link between half forward and the midfield.
In the back half of the season, she started winning more of the ball to go with her marking and inside 50 work and was a big part of Collingwood’s strong finish to the year.
Bernardi will compliment the likes of Alicia Eva, Courtney Gum and Jessica Dal Pos nicely through the midfield and give them some much-needed goal sense.
Melbourne: Maddison Gay
Gay had an excellent first season for the Blues in what was a pretty bad situation for a first-year player.
As a speedy, outside midfielder who can kick goals on the run, Gay will be perfect for a Melbourne midfield that already boasts a strong core thanks to the likes of Karen Paxman, Lily Mithen and Elise O’Dea.
She’ll be able to sit on the outside and use her pace and skill to give the Demons another weapon in 2019.
North Melbourne: Emma Kearney
Not much really needs to be said here. Picking up the reigning league best and fairest winner is reasonably handy.
Kearney had a brilliant 2018, ranked first for disposals won, second for clearances and third for inside 50s.
North Melbourne will build around her and given the players they’ve targeted, will likely want her winning the hard ball out to the likes of Kaitlyn Ashmore, Jess Duffin and Jamie Stanton.
Western Bulldogs: Eleanor Brown
The reigning premiers have brought back a pretty similar squad for 2019, but first-round selection Eleanor Brown is someone who should have an immediate impact.
Brown is an endurance runner and received All-Australian honours in 2018 in the U18 Championships.
Expect her to line-up alongside Hannah Scott and Libby Birch across half back for the Dogs and give them another rebounding option.
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